Sentosa (Singapore): Rookie golfer C
Muniyappa`s Indian Open triumph, which catapulted him into the
top 10 of the Order of Merit, will inspire more rags-to-riches
stories, Asian Tour Chairman Kyi Hla Han said here on Monday.
The 32-year-old joined illustrious compatriots Ali Sher,
Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa by winning the Indian Open
following a gutsy play-off triumph over Korea`s Lee Sung
Prior to his victory, Muniyappa was 97th position in the
Asian Tour Order of Merit with earnings of USD 17,391, but his
victory has now catapulted him to sixth place with USD
Han lauded Muniyappa`s triumph and likened it to the
success of SSP Chowrasia, who won the Indian Masters last
year. Both players come from humble beginnings with their
fathers working at golf courses.
"Muniyappa`s victory will inspire many young and less
privileged Indian golfers to practise harder in search for
success," Han said.
"Through his humble background as a caddie, he has shown
that the way to success is through hard work and dedication
and I`m sure he will now become a source of inspiration to
many other golfers," he added.
As a seven-year-old, Muniyappa earned one rupee working
as a caddie at the Karnataka Golf Association golf course and
remained modest after winning close to USD 200,000 for his
maiden triumph on the Asian Tour in what is his rookie season.
"Maybe (I`ll) rent a house," he said.
Muniyappa`s father worked at a golf course and his first
two clubs were give-aways, a two iron and a seven iron, and he
developed his swing by watching club members.
"I have never had a coach," he said.
"I got some advice on things to work on this year on my
swing but it would have taken a lot of practicing. There is no
time. I`d rather be playing in tournaments than practising. I
just go by feel."
Muniyappa`s win was also applauded by his illustrious
peers like Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar.
"What a fantastic win for Muniyappa. When I saw he was
leading after the third round, I was praying that he should go
on to win. I haven`t seen him play, but I do remember him as a
very humble and hard-working guy," said Jeev.
"He`s not scared. That`s the attitude you need to win
tournaments," added Bhullar.
US-based Arjun Atwal described Muniyappa`s triumph as a
landmark moment for Indian professional golf.
"It`s great to witness new champions emerge from our
country. I hope Muniyappa goes on to achieve even greater
things in the future," he said.